2008-05-23 REPORTS: KS/NE/CO/OK/TX



Just a quick report from somewhere north of Quinter KS. I was in the outer edge of the wedge. Video Is INSANE!!! Will post more later, back on the chase.

Edit. Outer Edge as in maybe 150 feet.

Still in the field west of Hays KS but here is the video of the storm that almost killed me. I think this is as close to a wedge you can get without becoming a human tornado probe.


Beautifully done, Doug! My hat is off to you!
Besides what's obviously great about your vid...the fact you didn't screw it up with all kinds of blabbering raises this vid's stock 200 percent. The F-bomb only serves to enhance the whole effect.
Well done, sir.
You have every right to be proud.
Glad you're still numbered among the living.

Joel Ewing / Tucson, Az. 20 + chase vet.
Recent quote: :"OMG...it's F'ckn killin' me that I chose June 1st. to begin my annual chase vacation."
Thanks Joel and everyone else.

Just made it into Salina and got one of the last rooms in town. I'll keep this short since I need sleep before the chase home later today.

I chased with Chris Collura and Brandon with 2Twisted and I picked the spot just east of Utica to get south of the fog grunge from the early morning storms.

We pretty much killed a couple hours while waiting for the storms to fire and as soon as the cell near Utica fired, we were on it. all the way up to Quinter, KS, with a few road hazards... Found a road on the GPS that was really not there and had to turn around and back track just north of Utica.

Then while on the way to Quinter, Brandon slide off the road while trying to stop on the muddy roads. He has a 4 Runner and he had a tow rope so I was able to pull him out with my Jeep. Only a few minute delay but we were soon back on the road and I could not wait until we hit the asphalt just south of Quinter as the tornado was just forming.

Now here comes the danger part. Yes I was almost killed but then again, I have almost been killed by storms more then I can remember. Everything can kill you, the thing to worry about is if someone is chasing solo (nobody else in the truck) or someone is taking risks without knowing the dangers and bringing others into the danger zone. If I got hurt or killed, oh well, it was only me.

So now I left Chris and Brandon back in Quinter and drove north. I drove past the DOWs and the road hazard that is also know as the Disco Cam Crews. Pass a couple other chasers and drove right up next to a mean looking stove pipe tornado as show in the video

That was when the hail started to fall the size of baseballs. Thats when I stopped and looked around to see what else was coming when the rain parted and about a half mile away was the wedge coming straight towards me. I backed up and parked between the power polls next to a row of smaller pine trees and where I was more on the done side of a slight hill where the trees where to block the straight line winds hitting me and then just hung on for the ride.

After the wedge passed I went up the road to check on the damage and check on some of the people the were hit. I met a few people that said they were ok but were pretty shaken up. When I tried to go back the road I came, the sherif said the road was now closed due to the down powerlines. I did not argue with him about that fact but told him what I saw just up the road then I turned around and made a long round about drive back to I 70.

I did not want to drive back on the mud covered roads so I opted to head east on 70 since I just lived through something that was pretty insane and just stick to the paved roads. I made it back towards Hays and got on the Ellis County storm. Just saw some power flashes in the distance and Roger Hills tour group.

Well, the power just failed at the hotel here in Salina and looks like the power is out to the area so I better see what is happening.
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Michael O'Keeffe

What a lousy day. We left WaKeeney at 11:30am for our target of Dighton, KS. Arrived around 1pm and watched cumulus get going. Met up with Brandon Sullivan and Mike Bradley(?) and watched a storm EXPOLDE nearly on top of us just to our east. Watch a wall cloud form in merely minutes and begin to rotate. Saw a dirt plume under the wall cloud which was interesting, but I don't think it was a tornado even though it streched all the way to the cloud base. Anyway turn on highway 4 west of Utica and a F***ing pheasent slammed into our windshield blasting me with glass and destroying our windshield. We turned north and watched a nice cone funnel that I think touched down, but I am going to watch over the video in a second. We got into some muddy roads and lost the storm. We got back onto the highway and wanted to target the cell near Garden City that eventually produced the wedge near Quinter, but as soon as we reached 50mph our windshield began to wobble and break so we limped to Great Bend where we sit in our hotel.

Here is the windshield from the pheasent.
Jun 9, 2004
Visit site
Driving back to Norman now. Excellent day for my chase partners, Angelyn Kolodziej and Darrel Kingfield, as we watched the tornado N of Ft Supply. Basically were under the storm from N of Gage to around Ft Supply. Found lots of hail on the ground, with a M3.25" north of Gage (OK 46 and County Road 370). Then found some wind damage (2" tree limbs snapped) at the intersection of County Roads 340 and 1860 west of Ft Supply Lake. Unfortunately, I may have damaged Darrel's wrist tossing hail around


Sep 25, 2006
Friendswood, TX
I viewed 4 tornadoes this afternoon and evening including a large long-track wedge in Gove county that we followed from start to finish for nearly 40 minutes. Next tornado was a large wedge that developed right on top of us on 147 southwest of Cedar Bluff Resevoir. This developing wedge was within 100 yards as it moved parallel to us as we raced north on 147 trying to get to safety. Wasn't able to get east of it but just glad we got out of there safely. Will have pics later...
just a quick report: amazing day! me with thunderstorm team - italian tornado tour intercepted many supercells and saw 5 tornadoes including 3 amazing large wedge around Quinter, ks.
we ended in Ellis with siren screaming and another rain wrapped large tornado on the ground. scary situation! we have a plane to europe at 5 am so we are heading to OKC now. pics when I'll be back home

stay safe out there and see u next year (sigh!)
Sep 27, 2006
Ballwin, MO
I'm sick...

So, after I left the Hummer/Van power pole fiasco, I headed West to get out of the path of a TVS and ended up on the highway right in front of it. Got video from about 300ft away.

I feel terrible because I guess I was so giddy from catching it so cloesly, I didn't notice the vehicle it threw into the pasture next to the highway. I'm sick to my stomach for not catching that and helping that vehicle.

I'll see if I can post some video and perhaps I actually caught the automobile being lifted.
Jan 7, 2006
Quick report, details later... chased with Curtis McDonald, Matt Chatelain, and Matt Van Every and intercepted numerous tornadoes in NW and WC Kansas. The highlight was watching a large borderline large cone/wedge approach I-70 from the south near Quinter a bit after 4:30 PM. We were pulled off on the westbound side with many other chasers, and had a near miss as it rapidly dissipated just as it crossed the interstate. Pic of this tornado below.

Mar 6, 2006
Amarillo, TX
Finally got an OK tornado for the firsttime in 4 years. I got to Shamrock right as the action got going and caught up to the storm right as it did its dirty work just north of Fort Supply, OK after driving through the Antelope Hills in W OK. Found softball/grapefruit size hail on the ground which was followed by stretched out cone tornado with a 5 minute rope out. I figured any chance of catching the new meso was gone and knowing the tornado had crossed just half a mile to my east I decided to look for damage (like a down powerline or something of that nature). I ended finding 2 houses that were badly damaged (walls knocked down on both). No body was home. I stayed till the owners returned (that was tough to watch) and then EOC/Police told me to get lost. I would say it was F3 on the old scale by what I saw. Grass was riped from their lawn and a Semi truck and trailer were flipped over a into a ditch at the residence. I was speachless the whole time I was there, still am. I am just really glad no one was home because it would have been a rough ride in those houses. I will post vid and pics tomorrow when I get home with a more detailed report. For only seeing one tornado today, it still beats alot of other days on my list.

Edit: got home at 4 and I am not tired so here are a few pictures from near Fort Supply. Full report will be posted to owlsp.com/may232008 in a couple days with more pictures and video.

The image below did not stick out to me till I got home. You can see where the tree/bush was ripped from the ground and dragged across the yard. There was a vortex mark on the ground right next to those trees in the picture (the grass was gone).

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Dec 8, 2003
Kansas City, Missouri
Ended up on Ness City storms today, with a tornado NE of town. Will post some stills and caps later. The big event came later after I came across Fred Plowman and Andrew Prichard and crews and we ended up in a tight spot ... Slammed with 70-80 mph RFD that took out a row of trees beside our car. More details later ... A day not soon forgotten!

EDIT: Here's the long version of last night edited in -

Well it's going on 6:00 am and I'm laying in my hotel bed not able to sleep and thinking about what a nutty experience yesterday ended up being for just about everyone.

Doug Kiesling - that is an amazing video. Glad you're still alive. You definitely win for wild factor. I will spend the next year wishing my job could have let me go one hour sooner. In an hour I could have been on the Quinter storm. Man, I wish I could have seen that thing! Congrats to those who did -

Ness City has been bugging the crud out of me all night. There was some sort of funky stuff going on with the cell next door and those things couldn't exactly get together and decide who was going to rotate. This is the second time in less than two weeks that a great storm has been screwed with from neighboring convection as it's getting really interesting. Not able to upload pics right now, but just west of Ness City in the "Chasecar City" that sprung up instantly there was one of the best mesos ever. Rotation almost on the scale of the Hallam storm. Getting away from that thing was like a rat race through Ness. The stream of chasers became more fun to watch than the storm at that point, believe it or not. We were all scrambling like rats.

As we followed it north we ended up on a gravel road south of this horseshoe from hades that was one of the coolest storm structures I've seen in a long time. It was perfect. I have some wide angle shots from a mile south of it that are rockin. Wish we could have been just a smidge closer to the tornado, though. Was a show no matter how you were looking at it.

We ended up on this dam on a lake up there south of I-70. I'll have to go back later to see where we were exactly. But there was a brand new meso off to the west that we had been watching for a while, trying to decide if it was worth anything or not - the storm began to hook pretty good at this point on radar. As we're coming across this big dam that felt like a thousand feet off the water, I saw some little vortex spinning below us on the water's surface (gust related), and told my passengers that it would not be cool to get smacked with high wind up there and get flipped off this thing. We ended up below the dam, hunkered down and taking cover as a hefty little shear marker spun over our heads. The wind went up over hurricane strength pretty fast ... I'm thinking it may have been shooting down out of the back of the storm and maybe hitting the dam and getting funneled through our safe spot - because it hit like a ton of bricks. Stuff was hitting the car, flying through the air. I was trying to stay cool for my first-time passengers (geesh, what a night for a first chase). Then got out of the car with Fred Plowman to realize the trees beside us had snapped off - one pretty good size one was uprooted (pics coming).

Had to then maneuver through the debris on I-70 in the form of several flipped rigs. Looked like one person on the westbound side was also being carried away in a stretcher ... not good. Anyway, decided I'd better write all this down before forgetting the details.
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Jan 29, 2004
Canton, Ohio
What a day! First tornado of the day was the wedge that dissipated as it was approaching I-70 about to go near Quinter. Then the brief tornado to the north of I-70. We then saw 2 rain-wrapped tornados near Ness City. First tornado we saw, we were in the bear's cage and blasted east on SR96 to get away from it. Then proceded east a ways and could see another large tornado on the ground to our north. Approached the Ellis storm from west on I-70 and let it pass to our north before going on. Saw 3 semis over-turned, and some other apparent damage. Lots of police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks in Ellis as we went buy. Finally, stopped at Applebees in Hays, and it was PACKED with chasers. Only got a couple pictures of the tornado as it was approaching I-70. This is the best one.

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Mar 21, 2005
Lawton, Oklahoma
UNBELIEVABLE day. Chased with Jason Persoff and Bill Hark. Started off watching the cone just south of Quinter that dissipated just before crossing I-70 but which subsequantly put down a short-lived wedge, a tube and a rope in succession right on the north side of I-70

The highlight of the day tho was a long unobstructed view of the awesome Quinter wedge including some decent shots with satellite vortices and a good view of the tube stage it was in as it crossed I-70. Wedge shots below are from about 2-3 miles south of the Quinter exit off I-70 looking west

Was also near the two cells around Hays and Ellis later in the evening - didnt see much except one power flash from the first of the two
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All in all, an okay day. Chased the big tornadic cell through Lane County; missed the tornado but stuck with the storm just in case it cycled again. Met up with the DOW's along the way, and ran into Tim Marshall.

Got some decent video and stills of the giant meso and wall cloud (that didn't produce). Will post later (tired in Hays).


Brandon Goforth

Briefly, I was on the Fort Supply, OK storm from just west of Arnett all the way to the Kansas line really, the tornado warning was issued on this storm when it was approaching Shattuck, OK, but as it moved north of Gage it really got going, and started picking up big time about 9 miles south of May. Intense, persistent rotation all the way up to the WNW side of Fort Supply when it produced it's first tornado, it was rather brief and weak, I'd say a nice funnel 1/3 of the way down and a small area of rapidly wrapping rain near the ground with a small debris field. Actually I'm shocked it didn't produce south of May because the rotation was very strong. Afterward, it lost some intensity briefly, then pulsed back up and dropped the nice cone NNE of Fort Supply. Found softball sized hail on the ground near this area. Will post pics later.
What an awesome day for chasing. Headed down to Quinter from McCook this morning and basically waited for the storms to march up our way from down near Garden City. Got the first wedge approaching Quinter south of I-70 and then noticed the new meso forming west of town and headed a little south. Got a little of the brief tornado put down by that meso and then went back to our original position at the little airport on the NE side of town. Adjusted for the next storm in the line and repositioned too far east and had to back track on I-70 but got stopped by the police blocking all traffic from headed west toward Quinter. Seemed like there were about a hundred chasers watching the massive wedge head toward Quinter. Got on the Ellis storm about 20 minutes before it went into Ellis. Passed on chasing both TOR warned storms back north as they tracked into Ellis. If there was damage in Ellis it was minimal as we had no problem going thru on the way back to I-70. There was no power and some leaves in the streets. Saw quite a few semi's blown over on I-70 as well.
May 18, 2004
Centennial, CO
Had a busy, productive, amazing day. But I sucked monkey turds where photography was concerned today. Even my tripod footage was spotty at best. Bill Hark, Robert Balogh, and I linked up in Oakley, KS, where I spent time socializing with a large lot of chasers. Had a nice time there when initiation began.

Chose to target the intersection of the boundary along I-70 and areas south along the dryline. We were rewarded in spades. Caught a nice cone just 1 mile west of Quinter, KS, as it moved at around 30mph NNW dissipating just shy of the highway. Then the circulation reformed almost overhead, so "jogged" (i.e., panicked) east. Caught a multivortex tornado reforming just north of the highway.

Roadways were in short supply, so chose to abandon the storm as it moved out north. Good thing too. Met up with Doug Rafik and not even two hours later a training cell formed from the south and moved up to Quinter yet again. This time we jogged just a little south of town when a vigorous wedge tornado crested the hill. We saw it destroy some structure (still unclear what it was and too far away to know for sure) which persisted on the ground for 30-35 minutes traveling NNE this time. Eventually it crossed I-70 and was a truly spectacular and straight upright tornado that cycled a bit before it crossed the road. We followed westward again on I-70 but had to stop to help a motorist who was unlucky enough to be picked up and tossed by the tornado across a ditch. His car showed signs of having rolled several times and shrapnel (some from the car and some from the tornado) was imbedded in the car and the water of the ditch he'd landed near.

One of my partners (Balogh) had long enough legs to traverse the water and go assess him. I pulled out my trauma bag, but other than being disoriented, the guy was lucky to be alive. He did need to be extricated from his car and the first response was great. So we all packed up. He should do fine, but fortunately was amnestic as to how he'd gotten to where he was.

To see yet another meso form SW of Quinter. This time, though, no tornado. We moved east and toyed with the cells near Hays before giving up the ghost in Russell.
Clearly today was large and destructive. The warnings came hard and fast from GLD and DDC (they did an incredible job today). I could not believe that the worked over air continued to produce seemingly stronger and stronger storms. I assume that was the vigorous shortwave and combination of potent LLJ.

Wish my photos could have been of higher quality. But I'll take what we got. Hope all others are safe and satisfied. Thus far only that one injury described above noted, though we've heard a lot of reports that multiple towns were devestated. Now for much needed rest.


Feb 3, 2005
Shawnee, OK
We intercepted the first tornado to cross I-70 at Quinter, KS. It eventually wedged out north of the interstate.
In the wedge picture, it looks like there is a satellite tornado.

At dark, we came up on the 2nd Ellis tornado on the interstate from the west. A truck passed us and stopped ahead on the shoulder. I could see the tornado in my viewfinder. the truck blew over and I aimed the camera at it, but I guess I got off of infinity and it was way out of focus as the truck flipped over. Then the tornado got wrapped in rain and got BIG. It backed up a little to the west and we turned around and went the wrong way on the interstate to get out of there.


Mike Hollingshead

I came really close to repeating yesterday. I may as well have, really. Sat in Grainfield waiting to do yesterday over, but I forgot to do it over the right way lol. Went south of Quinter, but turned around, since I hate being in the way trying to turn around on small roads and not get stuck in my rear wheel drive car. I just foresaw a huge mess of chasers as that storm moved north. So went east on I70 to try and get a view first. I sat EXACTLY where I did the day before with nearly the same conditions....no contrast and rain. And I was well out of the path. So I hop back on I70 and inch nw to get a view. It sucked, all hazy and a million chasers with the same idea to use the interstate shoulders(beats teh hell out of being stuck on a wet gravel road cluster). I got sick of the haze, but more sick of so many chasers. I'm getting wierd with that anymore. I think a big chunk is being paranoid about getting my car stuck trying to turn around real quick or get out of the way. When I get annoyed, I just say scew it, so I did. I thought, I'll let this go and flyyyy south away from everyone and let whatever happens happen. Problem was I saw the repeat of yesterday starting to unfold on radar behind me. I KNEW what was going to happen at that point but didn't really care. I should have, but I get in the mood and just don't. The thing was the number of chasers near me before this was pretty big, all while spotter network showed hardly a soul near me when I was east looking sw. The ton on spotter network just didn't sound too good considering what I was seeing not even on there.

So flew south, and it was really nice to be out almost on your own lol. I targetted the cell sw of Dodge City. It began to look classic on radar. I jetted west from Jetmore for an intercept. Saw a far off cone tornado in the occluded area. I essentially got the cell as it was cycling, as it had a tornado before this, and had issues as I was on it. It was reorganizing but it was doing so right on my location. It just about put down a nice one in the field. I went ne with it on gravel best I could, but it turned to more dirt and sand. Sucked I couldn't continue since I had no clue how the roads would be or if they'd even get better. Sucked worse trying to beat the rain all the way back south to the highway west of Jetmore. As I do this, a cell goes up sw of the first one, and east winds became insane. Rain ripping west into that new cell that already had a nice big fat lowering. I was glad to reach pavement again as that rain increased. Seems this is the theme with storms in this setup. For whatever reason something fires behind the lead main storm and then that is where it really intensifies. Just like it did north the last two days, this one did that whole deal too. Raced back north to Ness City(after pondering dropping south agani for that other southern cell).

It beat me to Ness City, but wound up in an amazing horseshoe. Of course now I was back with the masses, right behind the TIV. Funny thing I wasn't annoyed at all(makes no sense). I guess driving in a train isn't as annoying as just trying to park and have a route out. I just thought about it at the time, thinking how bright it was to up and leave the earlier storm over crowding. I've never driven away from something I was that close to, knowing pretty much for certain what it was about to do...and completely not care at the time.

Anyway, drove north with the train of chasers, watching the amazing structure from the back. Then a tornado forms in the horseshoe to the ne. At the same time there was a persistent area over the n-s highway to the west of it that seemed it wanted to be teh main area on the ground. Just very low, pointed, mass of convection at the end of the horseshoe. Seems like I saw two tornadoes east of that, but can't remember for sure. One was a pretty nice white cone. After going east with it for awhile I opted to let it go since it was getting a really cold, not so organized look to it. Having a room booked in McCook helped.

Congrats to all the baggers again today. It's a hair painful now to consider all I had to do to see that along I70, even though I 100% did not care at the time if I missed anything. It's like annoyances slowly build and I don't think sanely. It's just amazing how many chasers there are now. Film crews with them. Tours! College groups. Trying to sneak a view of that intial grungy area on I70 did not help anything, neither did the damn rain leading up to that. I must learn to stop saying screw it and leaving the area. At least it doesn't hurt that terribly anymore.
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Damn storm motions screwed us again. We still managed to get a tornado today, but we missed the Quinter wedge. We were on that storm and followed it to 15-20 miles South of I70 before we finally fell behind and couldn't catch up. The roads around that area suck terribly. After that we dropped south and got on the storm that developed just West of Dodge City. We intercepted it SW of Ness City about 20 miles. The storm produced a brief stove pipe and then two ropes that only made it half to 2/3 of the way to the ground, but I can't confirm ground circulation with the ropes.
I am more than a little pissed about missing the Quinter tornadoes. We knew that storm would tornado as it approached I70, but there was just nothing we could do about it. Storm motions were doable, but not with the crappy back roads we were on. Storms aren't supposed to move this fast in May. Congratulations to those of you who got the wedge. I'm jealous.
Apr 23, 2006
Flower Mound, TX
An OZsome day in Kansas for the Marshalls. Target was Oakley. Headed west on I-70 from Salina this morning and had a nice leisure lunch at the Jade Garden in WaKeeney. Heading farther west, we saw a N/S line of towers/Cb's develop at Colby. However, an isolated cell at Scott City caught my attention and moved rapidly northward toward I-70. So, we turned around and headed south of Quinter to intercept. We encountered a large wall cloud with scud rising up from the ground, so we headed back to Quinter and waited for the cloud base to appear from the fog. I knew something was up when I saw the DOW and TIV in town. Then the winds increased from the east-northeast. Hmm. Then, as if on cue, a multi-vortex tornado emerged out of the fog and headed right for us. We parked on the west side of Quinter and let the tornado pass within 1/4 mile of us. Shot breathtaking, high contrast, footage of the merry-go-round.

After the tornado passed Quinter, we made the critical decision not to follow this tornado north into the fog and the poor road network. Instead, we dropped south to Pendennis to another storm. The fog cleared out and a classic supercell came into view. A tornado could be seen in the distance near Dighton. It died, then another occlusion took place closer to our west producing a white stovepipe that drill pressed the ground and had an elongated rope stage north of Shields. Had time to film it AND take lots of stills. This storm also headed rapdily for Quinter (again!) and we tried to keep up with it, on the wet backroads, but couldn't. So, we let the wedge producing storm go off to Quinter.

Then, the megasupercell out of Ness City caught our attention, so we eventually headed east on Rt. 4 (after finding gasoline) and caught sight of a violently rotating precip wall that contained a tornado (per Scott Peak) heading for Ellis. By that time, it was getting dark and we decided to head back to Salina -smiling all the way. TM
Nov 5, 2007
Birmingham, AL.
For me, I saw the largest tornado yet for this year. I was sitting on I-70 West between Wakenney and Collyer when the large wedge first came into view. A Deputy Sheriff and State Trooper blocked the interstate to any westbound traffic. I was fortunate enough to be the first in line and was filming it nicely until several arrogant tour group vans pulled directly in front of me blocking my view. The trooper immediately put a stop to them from trying to drive right past him and made them pull over. Ha Ha Ha.
I was speaking with the Trooper after this and he gave me permission to follow behind him as we followed it west on I-70. This allowed me to film it uninterrupted for over 20 minutes. Well almost. The exeption was a couple more chasers in a silver Honda SUV that thought they were going to buzz by and then he saw the trooper as we were driving along about 70. He cut into the lane I was in and almost hit me.
But all in all, a great day. I just wish some of these tour group jerks and other chasers were more considerate and would think about what they are doing before running over others and blocking someone's view. ( read section on Chaser Courtesy Reminder)
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Dec 4, 2003
Norman, OK
Was on the NW OK storms, but unfortunately missed the tornadoes (heard the warnings, but couldn't find my way to get to where they were). Got three very nice sups out of the deal, so I'm quite happy with the day.
Sean and Katie McMullen, Jeff and Kathryn Piotrowski and myself Filmed a hand full of tornadoes today, three large wedges, two along I-70 and another near the Cedar Bluffs Lake, a weak multi-vortex north of I-70 and than Jeff and I saw an elephant trunk to stovepipe with major power flashes near Ellis at night. Some pretty stunning video, though not sure it tops what I captured yesterday (gonna be hard to top what I saw Thursday, stuff is that good). A crazy couple of days, not even sure how many wedges I have seen the last couple days, let alone a total tornado count, gonna take me a year just to get all the video sorted through, hopefully soon (maybe Monday) I'll start getting video up on www.severechase.com
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